Balance Raiding in Cataclysm
This first post is a collection of known information. Due to the NDA still being effect on the Cataclysm Alpha, the only things discussed here are those either revealed by Blizzard, or already well-publicized by other sources. I'll try to keep the first post updated with new information, and the rest of the thread is for discussion.
First, the Stats and Mastery previews can be perused here, for those who aren't familiar. I'll probably keep it to Druid-specific info after this:
World of Warcraft - English (NA) Forums -> Cataclysm Stat & System Changes
World of Warcraft - English (NA) Forums -> Mastery System Preview
World of Warcraft - English (NA) Forums -> Mastery System Preview
--Spellpower will come primarily from Intellect, and hit rating from Spirit.
--You will get Mastery bonuses (damage, haste, and Eclipse) proportional to the number of points you have in the Balance tree, up to a max of 51.
--The Eclipse mastery can also be improved through a Mastery stat on high-level gear.
The Druid Class Preview:
World of Warcraft - English (NA) Forums -> Cataclysm Class Preview: Druid
Notably, this contains a description of the new Eclipse system, as well as all new Druid spells (Thrash, Stampeding Roar, and Wild Mushroom).
A few other random bits from the developer chat on Twitter:
--Haste and crit will affect all DoT's by default (haste will increase the tick rate).
--Relics will no longer give class-specific bonuses.
The current talent preview:
MMO-Champion - Druid Cataclysm Talent Preview
And a calculator:
WoW Talent Calculator - Sigrie
Talents that no longer exist: Insect Swarm (made trainable), Improved IS, Moonfury, Improved FF, Improved MotW. Wrath of Cenarius and Lunar Guidance are preserved in name only, and Nature's Grace is flagged for a redesign.
New talents: Solar Beam, Lunar Justice, Starsurge, Euphoria, Fungal Growth, Blessing of the Grove, Perseverance.
One other thing that's been getting heavy discussion on various sites is the tooltip for the Eclipse mastery that's currently on the alpha:
7/1: Here's a post by GC from the Alpha forums:
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Beta - (English) Forums -> Moonkin Major Concerns (12065 & 12122)
7/10: More GC posts:
MMO-Champion BlueTracker | Omen of Clarity in Cataclysm
MMO-Champion BlueTracker | Cataclysm and Eclipse
MMO-Champion BlueTracker | Moonkn Cataclysm discussion
My own initial comments:
First a few things I've said already. Comments on class preview:
And on the talent preview:
I'll add a little discussion here of what I think the rotation will look like, under the well-known leaked Eclipse mechanic. The short answer is, "a lot like the current one." In fact, if it goes to Beta in its current form, it will probably be the most important focus for feedback.
As it stands, it looks like we will cast Wrath until we hit the Lunar end of the scale, then cast Starfire throughout the 15s Eclipse duration (all the while moving back to the right, towards the Solar end of the Scale). Then continue casting Starfire until we hit the Solar end, then turn back left and start casting Wrath again (with an Eclipse buff for the first 15s), repeating. Main points here:
--It really is essentially identical to the current rotation, except that the arrival of Eclipse is deterministic instead of random.
--Starsurge, with the Lunar Guidance talent, will immediately provide 15 Energy towards the closer end of the scale, on a 15s cooldown. Use of this seems reasonably clear--you want to cast it once per Eclipse, probably as Eclipse ends. (You can't use it exactly on cooldown, because you need to save it for when you're past the halfway point in each cycle, and you may as well wait until after Eclipse, so that you don't waste your Eclipse buff).
--The rate at which one gains Eclipse energy scales with both crit (due to the Euphoria talent) and haste. This may potentially lead to very high Eclipse uptimes after some tiers of gear. The effect will be more dramatic than the current effect of crit and haste on Eclipse uptime (which is small), since the proc speed is affected by all casts during the prior Eclipse, not just the casts after it ends.
I also want to describe how the biggest problem with the current Eclipse system--its susceptibility to heavily penalties from movement or interruptions, are not only preserved in the new system, but made worse. The basic problem I'm referring to is that casting interruptions not only have the potential to waste Eclipse uptime, but to reduce average Eclipse uptime during the times you actually are casting. This happens because while you're not casting, you're not attempting to proc Eclipse. Put succinctly, casting interruptions can reduce Eclipse uptime, but not Eclipse downtime (unlike cooldown-based buffs, where downtime can be reduced as well). I describe in detail here:
Note that "casting interruption" can be something as simple as DoT refreshing, which has always fit awkwardly into the Eclipse cycle (see endless discussions of DoT refresh timing all through WLK).
I won't give the full mathematical treatment for now, but the new problem is that a casting interruption during Eclipse not only wastes part of the current buff (which is still time-based), but also delays the subsequent Eclipse. So it not only reduces use of Eclipse uptime, but increases the downtime before the next one. This makes the impact on Eclipse uptime even greater than under the current system.
Starsurge could alleviate some of the movement penalty if it is designed to be used when we are forced to move. I am not entirely sure if this is the case at the moment because the buff to it seems strong enough to be a use on CD so long as you are not in Eclipse.
E: bleh sorry I thought this was instant.
You can't use a spell with a 2 sec. cast time on the move.
The biggest question is in the Mastery. That is and always will be the fundamental make-or-break mechanic for Balance Druids. We don't really have that many talents that increase our damage. Most of our talents increase the strength of our Mastery, and as far as I can tell we're the only class so forcefully chained to the mastery.
To me, their answer to Eclipse's problems is to limit the effectiveness of the ability. That prevents Eclipse from procs from playing such a major impact on our DPS (which is a legitimate problem). I highly doubt we'll see numbers that allow Eclipse to buff Wrath's damage by 60%. I'm thinking it'll be more like 30%. That's not the underlying issue though. No one would care if the swings caused by Eclipse weren't done so by such fundamentally broken gameplay. It is essentially a band aid fix that doesn't adequately address the situation.
Frenzi: Starsurge has a 2 second cast time on the current talent calculator, so using it while moving may be difficult.
Ara: The entire worth of eclipse and eclipse mechanics you're concerned about in terms of eclipse being penalised heavily during movement is working under the assumption that none of our instant cast spells (moonfire/etc) will give eclipse benefit. If the Wrath of Cenarius tooltip is correct from the level one version, and the direct damage portion of our Moonfire will provide significant damage, then we may be able to have some impact on Eclipse while moving. Obviously some mechanic needs to be in place for the nature half of the eclipse movement too.
We also have no idea as to what glyphs may be implemented. I could see the possibility of glyphs that do things like remove the cast time on Starsurge but remove the knockdown effect, or that cause Typhoon to give eclipse energy. There's also going to be a wider number of glyphs available with the new Medium glyph system, so we might see even more variance in what is available to change things for PvE.
On a closer look Hamlet, the mechanic is proving to be more subtle than meets the eye. The original description implied that arcane and nature damage will move the slider. But I think they meant wrath/starfire & now Starsurge only. However the slider position will affect the damage of all arcane/nature spells. So, let's say at 75% along towards a lunar eclipse, your moonfire will be doing more damage but won't move the slider towards the solar energy as it doesn't give solar power, this means you can cast moonfire along with your wrath spams that will be pushing the slider closer to a lunar eclipse. Insect swarm will do less damage the closer you get, but you can still cast it if you need to keep the debuff up. Starfall will do more damage too and won't move the slider.
Euphoria also affects Starsurge btw, this is a more recent change. Also Starsurge is funny, it will do whichever damage is higher, but add eclipse power to whichever half you're on. You have to pick up Lunar Guidance for this to work. Say you're 75% along the lunar half. If you cast starsurge, you will deal arcane damage fully benefitting from the extra damage arcane spells will do, however, Lunar Guidance will add 15 lunar power to take you closer to the lunar eclipse, rather than swing you closer to the solar one which is exactly what casting starfire will do. Starsurge is the exception.
The first key thing is that we can now delay when we hit a full eclipse so we can time it to occur when we don't have to move, by alternating our casts. It does give far more control on when to have your eclipse than previous, so you are making intelligent decisions. Youi'll still be at a loss on less predictable damage sources that cause interruptions off course, but take Festergut's vile gas, I can time my eclipse to go off after he's hit his range folk with it, something I can't do now. Also off course the damage swing during eclipse is not as huge as it is now, nor is it up as frequently.
A slight shame though is at the moment the eclipse effect doesn't amplify Starsurge. This does make Starsurge the nuke you want to use as often as possible when you're in one half of the bar, it is not the great swinger we thought it would be. It moves you up the bar.
Query Now I'm still not sure whether the slider moves whiles an eclipse is up, or stays there till its done before moving. If it moves while the eclipse is off, will your damage of starfire get less and less at a lunar eclipse because the slider is moving? If it stays unchanged for the duration of the eclipse, this is simpler, but it now means you have to work your way to the solar half by casting. This interchange is still been worked out, which leads to:
Second key point At first part, of the attraction of the new eclipse mechanic they wanted to bring in was that sometimes it was more beneficial to work your way back for a second lunar eclipse rather than go for a solar eclipse based on the circumstance, making this mechanic more interesting. Now they are thinking of not allowing you to have another lunar eclipse without first having a solar eclipse and vice versa.
The reason I figure is there lies the danger of the player populace deciding that the Lunar half is the better place to be and therefore never triggering solar eclipses, defeating the entire point eclipse was introduced anyway which is to get you to alternate between the two. Imo, firstly they could add a cooldown to triggering any type of eclipse, so you can't immediately re-trigger a lunar, - this only makes sense if the slider doesn't move while an eclipse is up. If it moves, then you'll be far closer to the solar section of the bar by the time lunar eclipse is up. secondly Another thing they could add is still allow you to go back for a lunar eclipse, but not do so more than twice, so if you've had two consecutive lunar eclipses you have to have at least one solar.
Third Key Thing Perhaps the best solution is to allow the bar to move during an eclipse, but suspend the effect on the damage of your main nuke from being influenced by the bar. I.e. the damage you do with starfire at the start of a lunar eclipse stays the same for the full 15 seconds, and won't drop because the bar is moving by your casts. However the damage done by other spells will still be influenced by the bars position. This is not a problem much because you'd only be casting ideally the one spell whiles the eclipse is up. This also removes the need to enforce a cooldown on eclipse because you'd likely be at the solar half by the time the 15 secs is up. and gives you more flexibility because if you had to move and therefore waste your eclipse, it is now better to move back for another lunar eclipse you can cast properly rather than head for a solar which would take more time.
Then they could ensure you switch by only allowing a maximum of 2 consecutive eclipses of the same kind before you have to move to the other, OR,give you another incentive not to keep tracking back to lunar eclipses, by say reducing the effective power of more than 2 consecutive lunar eclipses, so if you go for a 3rd consecutive lunar eclipse, it is 10% less effective.
One thing I'd like to see is different play styles when in the lunar half and when in the solar half, rather than just casting mirror spells. This is why I'm so disappointed with Wrath becoming a 2sec cast with no other effect to it. If casting wrath did extra things to your dots, like extended insect swarm time and could knock insects to additional targets as well as adding say the T10 set bonus effect to wrath when it crits gives it a different feel. Insect swarm already differs from Moonfire because it is an outright DoT with a debuff. Starfire on the hand could only additionally say magnify the power of the moonfire ticks with each cast, to make up for the change of direction in MF from becoming an extended dot through the glyph to more of its original spell.
I must voice my displeasure the Improved insect swarm effect is going away. I would have built on that. Looking at warlocks, in particular demo locks and to a lesser extent destrolocks, the shadow/fire interplay really makes arcane/nature intreplay of balance druids look like childsplay. Key to building a more fluid, dynamic and interesting interplay could have been the old improved insect swarm talent or at least, building into the core spells.
So far, what's been done is a good start, but needs work. They need to finalize what the mechanic will be. I must say I like the idea of having to make the choice to go back for a second lunar eclipse (or solar) in certain situations where you triggered eclipse sooner than you wanted to, or unpredictable boss effect meant losing cast time. Like this, there is no need to impose cooldowns, or hold the bar still during the full eclipse, not casting won't move the bar much making it better to move forward. if you did have opportunity to cast, you'd be better off going for the solar eclipse now, as you'd be much further along the way. From this point of view, there is no need to force it such that you must proc a solar eclipse after a lunar.
Finally to be controversial, I understand why eclipse remains a timed event. It's a skill measure. It is good that you have to be positionally aware, to maximize your damage, still perhaps more so than other casters now, it is what I liked most about the current eclipse and why I didn't like the idea of a charge system. I felt that movement did impede us too much because there were far too many situations where no amount of forethought prevented a wasted eclipse and the knock to damage was too severe. However that was because too much damage came from eclipse. Originally i had hoped for some help in version 3 with movement, like in addition to the 15 sec uptime, you had say 2 charges of starfire and 4 of wrath that allowed an instant cast during eclipse, and you could do that to help with movement/interruptions. What they are doing now is interesting. Only time will tell how well it works. I do like the idea of controlling your eclipse procs.
* = Arcane spells generate Solar energy and Nature spells generate Lunar. Seems some what counter-intuitive, but I've noticed a lot of people seem to mistake these effects. If Wrath generated Solar Energy, Wrath would be buffing it's own damage and the same for Starfire/Lunar. ;)
Edit to add:
Think of it like this:
Imagine if Slice-n-Dice took 25 combo points to pull off. However, duration of Slice-n-Dice lasted about as long as it takes for you to build up those 25 combo points. And then on top of that, your entire rotation was based off the continuous upkeep of Slice-N-Dice. Anytime you stopped attacking the target, you lose out on both the uptime of Slice-n-Dice and the combo points you would have generated. That is how Eclipse works.
Mastery is unclear. Whiles the slider is implemented from the mastery, at the moment the description says it boosts your starfire and wrath damage during an eclipse. I mentioned elsewhere I don't like this only. It means mastery points from talents and gear only affecting you part of the time, when an eclipse is up. If mastery also increased the damage your arcane spells did the further along the lunar slider you are (same for nature and the solar side of the slider), then that would make more sense.
Say the eclipse bar is from 0 to 100. 0 is at solar eclipse end, 100 at lunar eclipse end, 50 is the middle point. Lets say at 4 mastery, you gain x damage to arcane spells when you're at 55 along the slider (which is now in the lunar half), at 4 mastery, as you go further along the lunar scale, the damage done by your arcane spells gets higher as you approach 100 ( a full lunar eclipse), so say at 75 along the slider, 4 mastery gives you xy damage. Now at 8 mastery, I would like it that 55 along the slider, you're doing x+z damage, so mastery has increased the damage you do along the slider, meaning that at 75 along the slider now, you're doing (x+z)y damage. Not limiting mastery to only increasing damage during an eclipse.
This may be how it works anyway, and it is something I will test more extensively with numbers. The reason is because every other spec's mastery does benefit them all the time, scaling their damage 100% of the time as you increase it through spending talent points in your tree, and through gear items and not for a 15 second period, which is what the mastery description implies.
Finally on Starsurge, I always hoped this would be instant cast, both for pvp and pvE, need a proper shor tcooldown nuke. It may be 2 secs because of the knockdown. Perhaps a glyph that makes it instant cast but removes the knockdown might work.
Edit to ADD
For me, it makes enough of a difference currently. I'm not having such a huge dps loss having to delay my eclipse like now. We've always wanted a switch of sorts to determine when to activate eclipse. Now we have it. I for one like that it's not a simple press trinket to activate now. It's more subtle.
Edit 2 to also Add:
As we last knew it, the tooltip for the Eclipse mastery explicitly states that when you reach 100 Solar/Lunar energy, your Wrath/Starfire damage is buffed for 15 seconds. How do you justify ignoring that? I'll admit that it may be a holdover at the moment, but until there is evidence that proves otherwise, you can't just dismiss that.
The only benefit to the Eclipse effect increasing as the slider moves is the option to break off and switch to the opposite spell. That means if you're disrupted, you can abandon maximizing your current Eclipse at the advantage of maximizing the next one sooner to compensate for the interruption. But that only works while you're building the Eclipse buff. If you have to move while you're taking advantage of Eclipse, you're still being harshly penalized because it takes the bonus of the buff away from you and delays the next time you gain it.
For other classes, their buffs last much longer and their rebound time is much lower (meaning they can get back to what they were doing faster). It's a lot easier to build up 5 combo points to put Savage Roar back up, and it lasts twice as long as Eclipse does.
I do think however that the sting of movement whiles still there is severely lessened. When you trinket you still have to stand still and cast, and lose its effect if you move. Eclipse is now like a passive proc trinket, but one you have a measure of control over when it occurs, this can make all the difference is what I'm saying. The issue is not removed, but maybe they don't want to remove it. Maybe they want us to be mindful of where we are standing during this, but have afforded us a way we can skillful maximize the use of this feature by controlling when it procs to lessen the sting of having to move during it. I think how often an eclipse occurs will go a long way to determining how this works out. I like the new system. I like having a sophisticated way of controlling when it will go off to. So maybe we just disagree on how bad or good this is with what we understand so far.
But you are ignoring it by talking about aspects of the Mastery that either aren't implemented or don't (won't) exist at all.
Furthermore, how can you say Eclipse won't be up that often? I believe it will be just like now where we're striving to maintain 100% up time. Arawethion and I had a correspondence about this not long ago. Based on what we agreed upon, Eclipse uptime is going to be very high. It is based on some assumptions, but I'm guessing it's close. Here's the basic rundown:
1) Eclipse triggers at 100 Energy (Solar or Lunar, doesn't matter).
2) Wrath generates 4 Energy; 8 on a Crit
3) Starfire generates twice the Energy of Wrath, but in twice the time. TLDR: 2 Wraths = 1 Starfire
4) Starsurge generates 15 energy, used on cooldown outside Eclipse
5) Improved Eclipse increases the total Energy gain, 5.2 Energy for Wrath, 10.4 per crit
So, after you proc Solar Eclipse you cast Wrath for 15 seconds straight. Not accounting for Haste and with a 40% crit chance, that gives Wrath an average of 7.28 Energy per cast. That's 72.8 Energy in 15 seconds with 0 haste. From there, you pop a Starsurge, so you're at 87.8 Energy in 17 seconds. 2 more Wrath's will give you the 100 Energy needed to produce another Eclipse. That's ~20 seconds with no haste. This gives Eclipse a 75% uptime, with no haste at all.
To achieve a 100% possible uptime, you'd have to have 1093 Haste at level 80, not counting the haste bonus from Mastery OR whatever ends up happening with Nature's Grace. Let's say that Mastery ends up being 8% (arbitrary number that makes things easy math wise). That means you need 25% total haste or 819 Haste Rating.
Saying Eclipse is like a trinket proc is woefully inept. Trinkets are on a 2 minute cooldown, 90 seconds at best. They're only active for a small fraction of the fight. I've just proved with a fairly reasonable amount of conjecture that Eclipse is likely to be active over 75% of the time and 100% is easily obtainable. Trying to compare the two is like looking at a hill (aka trinket) and a mountain (aka Eclipse) and saying they have the same effect on the weather (aka damage).
Edit: Let me try to explain this better. With trinkets, if you have to move and miss out on the proc that sucks. The procs only happen a few times a fight so it's not that big of a deal. It doesn't have such a large impact. Sometimes that's the way the ball bounces. Plus, it's cooldown will come up again in a set time. No big deal.
Because Eclipse has such a high uptime, every time you move is a detriment. You miss out on the proc; that sucks. That's the same as the trinket. But you also extend the time between the Eclipse you're missing out on and the next Eclipse you're proccing. It would be like a trinket saying "any time spent moving increases the cooldown of the effect."
We also don't know what the final value of eclipse will be, at maximum mastery from talents, just how much of a boost is your damage to the main nuke? The larger it is the more punitive it will feel to move when under eclipse. At his point, the design concept is not final, how much of a jump is casting starfire at 99 Lunar power is compared to casting it at eclipse time?
To be honest Mooboom, I sincerely wish they give us a stronger means of coping wixh movement while eclipse is up. But I'd wait to see the new system in action before I conclude it's totally failed to address the main issue of the live version, as this will severely depend on how much of a boost the eclipse gives as well as the uptime, a ton of variables subject to change.
The race should be to get ot eclipse sooner, but atm it's looking like it's far too soon. I would make eclipses further apart. Push comes to shove there are always additional measures they could take to help with movement if it proves to be too much of an issue.
Perhaps I missed this, but are we certain that the Eclipse meter moves while under the effect of Eclipse? I mentioned on a couple other forums that if the Eclipse bar does move during Eclipse and the amount that it moves is modified by its damage, we could run in to significant problems at higher gear levels where the time to proc the next Eclipse could be theoretically less than the length of the current Eclipse. This would give us a massive scaling issue.
It makes sense (although it's not what I would like to see) that the Eclipse meter does not move while Eclipse is active. This would put us back in the same type of rotation that we have today and movement would cause the exact same penalty (a loss in uptime but not an increase in downtime).
1) I would work under the assumption for now that casts under Eclipse do start generating energy back the other way.
2) The analogy to timered trinkets missed the point. To try to summarize:
--With cooldown-based buff such as an activated or ICD trinket, a casting interruption can eliminate either uptime or downtime. In fact, if the interruption is random, you'll lose uptime and down time proportionally for no net effect.*
--With the WLK Eclipse, interruptions can eliminate uptime but not downtime (as you not attempting to proc while not casting during downtime). So random interruption reduces average uptime.
--With the Cataclysm Alpha Eclipse, interruptions can again reduce uptime but not downtime, and moreover, interruptions during uptime actully increase the subsequent downtime.
*To be thorough, this actually results in a slight increase in uptime, as you can delay an activation until you're able to cast if necessary.
3) One interesting thing that might be helpful: in the case of a severe casting interruption where you lose a significant portion of your Eclipse, you might wind up less than halfway to the next Eclipse when it's over. Then you can instead simply go back and proc the same Eclipse again. So the maximum downtime is still half a bar's worth, not any more. Starsurge will help with this as well (with the caveat that the current 15 Energy from Lunar Guidance seems like a pretty small amount to be of much importance).
In order to respond I realized it'd be necessary to detail how I view the meter currently.
First of all, I see it as a meter that is only 100 units of Energy long. Also, I believe there is a relation between the two sides of the meter so that when Lunar Energy = 75, Solar Energy = 25. It's the same as a +50,-50 meter, except the two sides can be represented independently. Therefore when Solar = 100, Lunar = 0.
I apologize for the crude image, but that is how I see it.
If my view is correct, I don't see how it's possible to set it up so that nukes not generating Energy during Eclipse. Obviously, it would just sit at one end for the duration and unless a cooldown was added it would reproc. So far, there is nothing to lead me to believe there will be an Eclipse cooldown though, which would be necessary, and therefore I will operate under the assumption that energy is generated during Eclipse.
There are other possibilities though, and the all involve a meter that is 200 units of energy in length. Such a meter would have a midpoint of 0 such that when Lunar = 0, Solar = 0. That would mean that say when Solar = 100, Lunar = 0 still, and instead of casting spells that generate Lunar energy, you are actually only casting a spell that subtracts Solar energy. That doesn't seem to fit as nicely within what we know of the system, but you would have to gain +200 Energy, thereby reducing Eclipse's uptime to between 40% and 50%.
Again, apologies for the crude image.
However, with a meter such as this it is possible that when Eclipse is procced the Energy value is reset to 0 Solar, 0 Lunar. From there, if you generate Energy during Eclipse, there is no difference in the behavior of this meter and the meter I first talked about before. You still need to gain +100 Energy, and it would happen during the time Eclipse is active.
If you weren't able to generate Energy during Eclipse, then you would have something different. There would still need to be a cooldown that prevents you from simply going back after that same Eclipse though, which leads me to believe this model is not the case. It would in effect be the same as a meter where you can generate energy during Eclipse, but the position isn't reset because Eclipse's uptime would be basically cut in half. However, you don't extend the time between Eclipse if you have to move while Eclipse is active (since you can't generate energy anyway), which is an advantage. There is no difference if Eclipse is not active though.
I edited this post to add the crude pictures and clarify my post quite a bit. I hope will better explain my thoughts. I apologize for the lack of clarity originally. I'm fighting off the flu and it's robbing me of articulation.
|All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:39 PM.|
Forum Infrastructure by vBulletin 3.6.12 ©2000-2007, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.